Feb. 27, 2009

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - West Chester University was picked as the preseason favorite in the Eastern Division of the PSAC women's lacrosse preseason coaches' poll it was announced earlier this week. The defending national champion Golden Rams received all six first place votes in the voting.

This will be the first year with a two-division setup in women's lacrosse with the additions of Mercyhurst and Gannon through league expansion as well as Edinboro, which is entering its first year with a lacrosse program.

West Chester (20-1 overall and 14-0 in PSAC play a year ago) and Lock Haven have dominated the landscape in PSAC lacrosse for the last several years, and the league's head coaches have forecasted it to be the same again this year as Lock Haven received all six first-place votes in the West.

The Golden Rams, ranked No. 1 in the first three IWLCA national polls this spring, enter the season on a 20-game winning streak, after losing their first game last year before reeling off 20 consecutive victories en route to winning the PSAC regular season and tournament championships and the NCAA national championship.

West Chester returns its leading goal scorer in senior attacker Jackie Baker, who scored a team high 89 goals last year and also dished out 37 assists to finish the year second on the team with 126 points. Also returning are Claire Grimwood (46g, 28a, 74 pts.) and Courtney Whiting (47g, 16a, 63 pts.), who finished third and fourth on the team, respectively, in points.

The Rams are also strong on defense as well as All-American defender Katy Crouse returns to lead the back line as does goalkeeper Mary Beth Green, who played the majority of the minutes in net last year. All together, the Golden Rams return four All-Americans from last year, including first teamers Baker and Crouse and second teamers Whiting and Green.

West Chester opens defense of its national title on Wednesday, March 4 in Hilton Head, S.C. against Slippery Rock.